Rich in stunning scenery and with a unique culture and history that’s all it's own, Pennsylvania is undoubtedly one of the jewels in the US’s crown. As home to an abundance of parks, over 100 miles of stunning coastline, and the majestic Appalachian Mountain range, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.
Its characterful towns and cities, meanwhile, offer more than enough to keep PA’s more ‘indoor-centric” residents happy. For home buyers, the only problem is deciding which of the state’s many hot spots to choose. Helpful as ever, we’ve rounded up the 20 very best places to live in the Keystone State.
Kicking off our round-up of the 20 best places to live in Pennsylvania is the little township of Cecil in Washington County. With its blend of affordable housing (the average single-family home can be had for just a smidgen over $224k, while rent sits at a very reasonable $768 per month), highly paid jobs (most residents can expect to enjoy the very comfortable median household income of $84,041), low crime rate and excellent schools, it’s one of the best places in Pennsylvania to either raise a family, or start one.
19. East Whiteland Township
Set on the outskirts of Philadelphia and housing a population of just 11,072 residents, East Whiteland Township offers the best of both worlds: easy access to the thrills and spills of the big city, and a small town, friendly feel.
The desirability of this exclusive suburb is reflected in its house prices, with the average single-family home selling for $369,100, and the average rental property demanding the equally considerable sum of $1481. However, with most residents enjoying a median income of $103,836, a low crime rate, and an abundance of parks and amenities, you’re unlikely to hear too many complaints.
18. Willow Grove
15,600 people are lucky enough to call the small town of Willow Grove in Montgomery their home. Chief among its attractions are a first-rate school system and the kind of public services and amenities that wouldn’t feel out of place in a city twice its size.
Its extensive list of attractions and events (including a host of music festivities that have earned it the title of “Music Capitol of America”), are sure to keep you entertained, while its low crime and peaceful setting are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
17. Lower Salford
Lower Salford has some of the best schools in the state; combine that with a crime rate that’s next to non-existent, and you can understand why so many families choose to make this desirable community their home. Throw in a job market that’s able to support a median income of $102,731, a great community feel, and an excellent range of amenities, and you’ll be left in little doubt as to why Lower Salford makes it to our list.
It may only have a population of 2,019, but with affordable housing, low crime, minuscule rates of unemployment and poverty, a first-class school system, and an abundance of outdoor and indoor attractions, little Houserville is punching far above its weight when it comes to the kind of features that go into making one of the most desirable places to live in the state.
Wondering why McCandless is widely considered one of the best places for families in Pennsylvania? Then check out its affordable house prices (just $232,200 will get you a decently sized family home with a garden), its low crime rate (by the last reports, there were only 41.7 assaults (compared to a national average of 282.7), 3.5 murders (compared to an average of 6.1), no rapes or robberies, and a property crime rate too insignificant to warrant a mention), great schools, and inclusive, diverse community. The average household income of $81,794 doesn’t exactly harm matters, either.
Considered by Niche as the #2 Best Place to Buy a House in Pennsylvania, Boalsburg is a great all-rounder. The home prices may be above the national average, but at $269,300 for a decent family sized property, they’re still very much within the realms of possibility.
The crime, poverty, and unemployment rates, meanwhile, are all very much on the lower end of the spectrum, while the schools, median incomes, job market, and amenities are all very much on the higher end. “It's a safe town, you can walk the streets at night and not worry about your safety.
It's just beyond the cusp of the university so it has a small-town feel but is merely a few miles outside the main campus,” one local resident enthuses on Niche, while another praises the town as a “great place to live in. Very safe and close to Penn State Main campus. Rent is considerably lower than places in-state college, so if you have a car, it is an awesome place to live. 10-minute drive to campus and is a beautiful place.”
If you’re looking for the kind of safe, peaceful community that’s the perfect place to raise a family, look no further than Emmaus. The small community of 11,300 residents benefits from clean streets, a low crime rate, good schools, and the distinction of knowing they share their home town with the real-life family that inspired the film, Marley and Me... who could ask for more?
12. Radnor Township
If you’re looking for somewhere to invest that $640,200 taking up space in your wallet, Radnor Township is a safe bet. Property prices may be sky-high, but then again, you can’t expect a move into one of the most desirable suburbs of Philadelphia to come for free.
If you do choose to settle here, you can expect a booming job market, great commuting links, a median household income of $111,607, the best public schools in the state, a superb range of amenities, a welcoming, highly educated community, and, to top it off, a crime rate that ranks as one of the lowest in Philly.
11. Bethel Park
Low crime, a great public-school system, a myriad of recreational opportunities, a fabulous selection of outdoor green spaces, safe, clean streets, a very robust median household income of $73,735, a welcoming, diverse community of 32,179… and all for the very attractive property price of just $170,900. The name of this delightful little slice of Pennsylvania paradise? Bethel Park.
Charming Lemont is an artsy, welcoming little community of 2,239 residents in Centre County. Tucked well away from the hustle and bustle of city life, its peaceful, safe streets are lined with quirky shops, delightful coffee shops, and an art gallery that’s as popular with locals as it is with visiting tourists.
Those in the mood for some big-city thrills are only a 5-minute drive away from the attractions of State College, while outdoor enthusiasts will find all the natural beauty and pursuits they could wish for on their very doorstep. Excellent schools, a low crime rate, and some of the area’s most affordable housing complete the very attractive picture.
With a crime rate that ranks as one of the lowest in the state, a plethora of indoor and outdoor recreational pursuits, an extremely educated citizenship (a whopping 52% have a master’s degree while another 27% have a bachelors), and a job market that’s booming to such as extent most residents are earning an average household income of $106,737, Swarthmore unquestionably deserves it's ranking as Niche’s #1 Best Place to Live in Delaware County. Granted, you may have to pay $387,800 for a property here, but it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of living in such a highly desirable community.
8. South Park
South Parks’ list of attractions include a county park with a concert pavilion, dog park, wave pool, ice rink, trail system, golf course and tennis courts, some of the best schools in the state, a robust median household income of $71,203, a diverse community, low crime rate, and a bountiful supply of shops, restaurants, bar and coffee shops.
With those kinds of attractions, you’d expect to have to pay a premium to live here, but in fact, this small suburb of Pittsburgh is one of the most affordable places to live in Pennsylvania, with a typical family home selling for just $157,100 (over $15000 less than the national average).
7. Jefferson Hills
Lying just 15 miles south of Pittsburgh, Jefferson Hills offers easy access to the attractions of the big city with very few of its disadvantages…. or its costs. Just $203,300 will buy you a very reasonable property in this attractive suburb, which benefits from a supremely low crime rate, a very decent school system, an abundance of amenities, great infrastructure, and a job market that can support the very healthy median household income of $88,328.
A property in Berwyn may come with the very considerable price tag of $445,600, but considering what you get in return, it’s an amount few would quibble over. Crime, poverty, and unemployment rates are all negligible, while at $100,857, the average median income is anything but.
The suburb is supported by some of the best schools in the state (Conestoga Senior High School, Hillside Elementary School, Tredyffrin Eastown Middle School, Beaumont Elementary School, and Devon Elementary School all come highly recommended), while its warm, welcoming community and year road schedule of events (which include the popular Turkey Raffle, the Tree Lighting, and the Fourth of July parade) are guaranteed to make newcomers feel right at home.
5. Mount Lebanon
Want to live in one of the most affordable but desirable communities in Pennsylvania? Then you may want to cast your eyes in the direction of Mount Lebanon, a suburb of Pittsburgh that offers prospective newcomers the chance to buy a property for the very reasonable price of $244,800 90 (or rent one at the even more attractive price of $861). Competing for attention with the great property prices are an excellent range of schools, a low crime rate, a welcoming, family-friendly vibe, a stable local economy, a median household income of $91,748, and easy access to downtown Pittsburg.
If you want to live in the homeland of America’s best-loved chocolate (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), then Hershey, a 15,000 strong community in Dauphin County, is the place for you. As you’d expect, the town is a popular tourist destination, but there’s plenty on offer to keep locals happy as well.
As the Crazy Tourist notes, the quality of the school system here has been recognized nationally- and with a high school graduation rate that’s 10% higher than the state average, it’s easy to see why. Low crime, a peaceful vibe, plenty of great parks and amenities, and a very affordable average house value of $249,000 complete the attractive picture.
If you want to be treated to an $87,807 median household income, a stellar school system, walkable neighborhoods, a world class shopping center and some first-rate restaurants, look no further than the top-notch suburb of Philadelphia, Ardmore. A single-family home may leave you with little change from $320,100, but trust us when we say this is one investment you’re unlikely to regret.
2. Penn Wynne
Excellent school system? Check. Low crime rate? Check. A great range of amenities and local services? Check, check, check. The little suburb of Penn Wynn consistently ranks as one of the very best places in Philadelphia to live, and it’s easy to see why.
As well as the safe, pleasant vibe, great job opportunities and first-rate public services, the quality of living is enhanced further by the community’s commendable commitment to the environment, with everyone pulling together to conserve the natural beauty of the area.
1. Chesterbrook (Development)
Winning the round-up of Pennsylvania’s most desirable locations is Chesterbrook. With a population of just 4,675, it offers the kind of close-knit, welcoming community we’d all love to be a part of.
Its proximity to Philadelphia, meanwhile, ensures residents don’t have to sacrifice job opportunities for safe streets; something that’s clear from both the non-existent crime rate and mammoth median household income of $115,446. Great schools, plenty of parks, and an abundance of amenities round of the highlights of this prime little stretch of real estate.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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